Are Early Polls A Possibility In Zimbabwe?
20 November 2022
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GENERAL elections in Zimbabwe – elections in which the President and members of the Senate, the National Assembly and local authorities are elected – are normally held every five years

The five-year period begins when a new President assumes office after a general election, and the next general election must be not more than 30 days before that period ends five years later
  This is provided for in sections 143 and 158 of the constitution

The President’s current five-year term began when he was sworn in on 26 August 2018, so polling day in the next general election should be held between 27 July and 26 August 2023

That is when the next general election is due to be held in the normal course of events, but it could be held earlier if certain events envisaged by the constitution occur

We shall deal with those events in this bulletin

Early dissolution of Parly

The first event to trigger an early election would occur if the Senate and the National Assembly, sitting separately, were to resolve that Parliament should be dissolved
  If the resolutions were passed by two-thirds majorities of the total membership of each House, then the President would be obliged by section 143(2) of the constitution to issue a proclamation dissolving Parliament
  In that event a general election would have to be held within 90 days after the last resolution was passed:  section 158(1)(b) of the constitution

Can this be done?

The ruling Zanu PF can get the requisite two-thirds majorities in both Houses for dissolution resolutions to be passed:

·       The National Assembly has 270 members, so 180 votes constitute a two-thirds majority

Zanu PF has 182 seats, two more than are needed to pass a dissolution resolution

·       The Senate has 80 senators, so 54 votes constitute a two-thirds majority
  Zanu PF has 34 seats, but there are 18 senator chiefs who usually vote with the ruling party
  If the Zanu PF senators and 10 chiefs were to vote for a dissolution resolution it would be passed by the requisite two-thirds majority

If therefore the ruling party wanted an early general election, it has the votes to get one
News Hawks